Consumer confidence down but still high in April
NEW YORK – April 29, 2014 – The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index dipped slightly to 82.3 in April, but it's the second-highest reading since January 2008. It would be the highest reading in six years if the Board hadn't revised the March reading higher – to 83.9.
The Present Situation Index – a component that measures attitudes about their present circumstances – decreased to 78.3 from 82.5. The Expectations Index that gauges attitudes about the future direction of the economy was virtually unchanged at 84.9 versus 84.8 in March.
"Consumer confidence declined slightly in April as consumers assessed current business and labor market conditions less favorably than in March," says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. "However, their expectations regarding the short-term outlook for the economy and labor market held steady. Thus, while sentiment regarding current conditions may have slipped a bit, consumers do not foresee the economy, or the labor market, losing the momentum that has been building up over the past several months."
Consumers claiming business conditions are currently "good" edged down to 21.8 percent from 22.6 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "bad" rose to 24.4 percent from 23.5 percent.
Consumers' assessment of the current labor market was also slightly more negative. Those stating jobs are "plentiful" declined to 12.9 percent from 13.8 percent, while those saying jobs are "hard to get" increased to 32.5 percent from 31.4 percent.
But consumers' future expectations held steady in April. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months was unchanged at 17.4 percent, while those anticipating business conditions to worsen increased marginally to 10.3 percent from 10.1 percent.
Consumers were slightly more optimistic about the outlook for the labor market. Those expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased to 15.0 percent from 14.1 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs edged up to 17.9 percent from 17.5 percent.
The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to grow increased to 17.1 percent from 15.3 percent, but those expecting a drop in their incomes also increased – to 12.9 percent from 11.5 percent.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 17.© 2014 Florida Realtors®